Accuracy in Media

The University of Southern California likes broadcast journalist Katie Couric’s pitches, provided that the CBS anchor lobs hardballs at conservatives and softballs at liberals. Specifically, Couric baited Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on her foreign policy experience when the Republican was John McCain’s running mate in his unsuccessful quest for the U. S. presidency.

Couric’s colleagues lionized her for the exchange when they had previously dismissed the former Today anchor as a lightweight. Still, none questioned her failure, in an interview with Palin’s opposite number, then-U. S. Senator Joe Biden, D-Delaware, to question him about his inability to correctly name the U. S. president who presided over the federal government when the stock market crashed in the 1920s. “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed,” Sen. Biden explained to Couric. “He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.'”

1.) FDR was not the president in 1929. Herbert Hoover was.

2.) Television was not publicly available for another 10 years.

Couric’s failure to bore in on these twin gaffes from the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could only be ascribed to two possible causes:

1.) She didn’t catch them, which brings her competence into question; or

2.) She didn’t want to, which brings ethical considerations to bear.

Compare that unheralded sound bite with Couric’s pressuring Governor Palin on her foreign policy credentials:

Couric: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

Sarah Palin: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to … I don’t know, you know … reporters.

Couric: Mocked?

Palin: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

Couric: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

Palin: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.

At a minimum, Governor Palin’s geography is a lot more up to speed than the current vice-president’s history. Nevertheless, as a result of Couric’s coverage, she received a Walter Cronkite award for excellence from the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Southern California.

The award was actually bestowed by the Norman Lear Center at USC. The Lear Center was endowed by the television producer/left-wing activist who gave America “ground-breaking” situation comedies in the 1970s such as All in the Family and Maude that featured flushing toilets and middle-aged women having abortions. “Lear founded the liberal group People for the American Way, and he served as the president of the Board of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California,” Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid reported in 2004. “The ACLU favors such things as legalization of drugs, prostitution and the possession of child pornography.”


Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.


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